If you have been to a bridal show or looked at a bridal magazine recently, you may have noticed a lot of so-called "wedding planners" that offer a lot of other services. Linens, rentals, floral designs, catering, cakes... sounds like a great deal, right? Well, not always.
Let's say you decide to hire a "wedding in a box" company. There are two options: 1) they really are doing everything themselves, or 2) they are outsourcing everything. If they do everything themselves, ask yourself, do you want to work with someone who does one thing well or five things just adequately?
If they are outsourcing, then chances are they are not only collecting a fee from you for their services, but they are also adding on a percentage to the other vendors' fees. Some companies even charge their vendors a percentage of their fee, meaning the same DJ could quote you $1,000 but you end up paying $1,100 because they tack on a fee that they have to pay the "planner."
You may decide that it is worth paying a little extra to have someone handle every detail for you - great, not a problem. However, what happens if your "planner" isn't getting your vision, or you have a disagreement that makes you uncomfortable? Now you have a problem. If you fire your "planner," you lose everything - your venue, your rentals, your flowers, your catering, your cake.
Or worse, what if the company you hire suddenly disappears? Unfortunately, it has happened here in Jacksonville too often. The "planner" says he or she will take care of everything, the client writes a check, and then as the wedding day approaches the "planner" will not return phone calls. And since you met them at a Starbucks, you have no idea what their physical address is.
This post isn't meant to scare you, and all companies offering multiple services aren't bad. Just remember, as with any vendor, ask for references, check Better Business Bureau reports, and get referrals from others you trust. As my grandmother used to say, "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!"